Susan Beth Pfeffer Turning Thirteen

ISBN 13: 9780590407649

Turning Thirteen

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9780590407649: Turning Thirteen

When her best friend, Dina, begins to become friendly with the new girl in class, Amy Ford, Becky sets out to get her friend back by arranging for them to have a bat mitzvah together, but her problem becomes complicated by a crisis of faith

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From School Library Journal:

Grade 5-8 In this contemporary novel with a religious theme, 12-year-old Becky is fiercely jealous when her closest friend Dina spends more time with Amy, a quiet new girl who has more gentle manners than Becky. But Becky has lots of nerve and imagination, so she devises a plan to get Dina away from Amy. Becky convinces Dina to have a joint bat mitzvah with her. Dina becomes fully involved in the religious training, but Becky is confused about God and asks the rabbi some difficult questions. In an ironic turn of events, Becky's guilt feelings about Dina cause her to decide that she's an atheist. In spite of this, the rabbi and Becky's parents convince her to carry on with the studies, and the bat mizvah is a happy ending, as Becky and Dina reach a more mature understanding of each other. This story offers an enlightening, thoughtful, sometimes humorous exploration of the importance of this religious ceremony, and Becky is a feisty character whose doubt, rebelliousness, and tough demands on herself will be understood by readers. But Methodist Amy is a little too obvious a contrast to Becky; she appears as impossibly perfect and stereotyped. Also Becky's abrupt turn to atheism does not work well as a plot climax, and the specialized subject matter of this story will not have universal appeal. Phyllis Graves, Creekwood Middle School, Kingwood, Tex.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Publishers Weekly:

Becky and Dina have been best friends even before they were borntheir mothers took Lamaze classes together. But ever since Dina began spending more time with Amy, Becky feels lonely and hurt. She devises a plan to win Dina back; she will convince Dina to have a double bat mitzvah with her, and they can spend a lot of time together in preparation. Everything is progressing beautifully until the morning Becky realizes she does not believe in God. It is her first mature, difficult decision, and she must accept the consequences that accompany it. Fortunately, she confides in a perceptive and caring rabbi who helps Becky understand more clearly both Judaism and herself. Becky is a vibrant, humorous protagonist, facing dilemmas which are both meaningful and comical. Pfeffer conveys her growth with subtlety and without overt sentiment. Becky's thoughts and ideas are told plainly and honestly; this well-written novel treats serious issues in an approachable manner that will satisfy Jewish and non-Jewish readers alike. Ages 11-13.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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